Friday, December 21, 2012

The Mitten

Noah's Book Club: December 2012

Title: The Mitten
A perfect winter tale...

Author: Jan Brett

Why Noah picked it: I love animals. Any book with animals in it I tend to enjoy but The Mitten is my new favorite. I bring it to Mommy or Daddy (ar anyone who is around) several times a day. I like to hear it again and again. The illustrations are beautiful and with the array of animals I am a happy camper. I also have learned to say "aaa-chew" just like the bear at the end of the tale.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All of Noah's New Doings has been over 2 months since I have blogged. The reasons for that are a few blogs in themselves so I will just leave it at that for now.

An update on Noah...mostly so that I don't forget what he was like at 12-13 months!

Our little man is cruising like crazy but still loves to crawl. He stands on his own for a few moments when we needs both his hands for a toy or food. He has taken a few steps mostly when he misjudges the distance between two pieces of furniture and needs to take a step or three! to make it to the next one.

He is eating...and eating...and eating. I can barely keep him from making the "more" sign language sign which has come to just mean "food" to him. He is on all solid food and is completely weaned. He loves bananas, turkey, peas, baby snacks, milk and water, applesauce, oatmeal, and yogurt but honestly...he hasn't turned down anything...we are enjoying that while it lasts.

He is talking! And it is oh-so-cute. He says: Hi, Dad, Mom, Moo (boo), Whoo, Quack, makes a squirrel noise, Balloon (boo), star, car, boots, turkey and it seems like every few days he'll start to call something by its name....or something that sounds like the start of its name. ;)

He still loves books but also likes playing with cars (all vehicles are cars for now), balls, taking apart his puzzle, and throwing around his Little People nativity set. We only do an hour of "screen time" a day...most of which he plays during and ignores the TV but he has started to prefer Thomas and Friends to Sesame Street although somedays he still does pick Elmo instead of Thomas.

He is long and skinny and has some curls at the bottom of his neck. He wears 18 month clothing and lives a lot of his life in feety pajamas.  If you ask his "Where's God?" he points to his heart. He sometimes blows kisses, plays peek-a-boo, or will point to a correct body part when asked. He still does a lot of pointing and if you ask him to be "cute" he will tilt his head to one side in very adorable way. He and JJ play a game with our composer statues that is his number one favorite activity. He gives kissed and hugs once in a great while. He can show you how old he is by putting one finger in the air when asked "How old is Noah?" When he sees candles he blows in an attempt to blow them out...a trick we tried to teach for his birthday. The best part of his birthday party was his face while the room full of people were looking right at him and singing.

He is sweet and smart. He is determined and loves to explore. We love our little one-year-old.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big Red Barn

Noah's Book Club: November 2012

Title: Big Red Barn
A favorite book from the author of Goodnight Moon.

Author: Margaret Wise Brown

Why Noah Picked It: I have loved this book for a long time. Mom says the same women who wrote it wrote "Goonight Moon"...the book every new parent gets 3 copies of. This book from Ms. Brown is also a goodnight book. It tells the story of a busy farm and all the animals in and around the big red barn. It has all my favorite animals in it and towards the end of the book all the animals head to bed inside the big red barn. The book has a wonderful rhyme scheme and meter that makes it one of my parents' (especially my Dad) favorite to read to me at bedtime. It came to us second hand from a book sale and Mom says she had never even heard of it before. This sister book to the famous Goodnight Moon needs more air time! Give it a spin!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pride & Prejudice

Noah's Book Club: October 2012

Title: Little Miss Austen Pride and Prejudice  -a counting primer-
My mom picked this one.

Author: Jennifer Adams

Why Noah Picked It: I didn't pick it. My Mom did. I got a few wonderful books for my 1st birthday this month but this one was my Mom's favorite. In a genius marketing move Miss Adams has come out with this simple counting book with a theme that moms like mine go crazy for. While this book is really just a 1-10 number book almost like any makes my mom really happy and I like it too. Examples of pages are: 2 rich gentlemen, 5 sisters, 8 musicians and so on....all nods to Miss Austen's classic tale. This ones for you Mama! (There are other titles in the series if you are more of a Jane Eyre or Romeo and Juliet type.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

11 Month Vocabulary List

Noah's 11 month mark came and went without a post from me. Mostly this is due to the fact that Noah woke up that Friday with a fever and I spent most of the day trying to keep him comfortable and happy. We ended up in the emergency room in the evening because the fever went to 103.6 and our doctor's office told us to take him over. It was a long and sort of pointless trip. He ran fevers for the next two days and when the fever left it was replaced by a cough and RUNNY nose. Oh, and a cold for this Momma as well. I've been mightily under the weather since then and we took a 3 day trip without Noah to clean out my husband's family beach house. With all that said...I am a week and 4 days late but I need to mark our little man...quickly on his way to 1.

Words we think Noah knows:
and I am sure there are many more....

The summary:
He is always up and cruising around the house. Still loves looking through his books. Sleeping well at night although we have a little work to do after some vacations and a cold/teething session. Naps are improving. Loves mirrors, walks, the jumper. He is now facing forward in the car. Eating well. With our knowledge of his understanding getting clearer we have started some discipline when he disobeys. He waves and gives kisses on occasion. He loves to point and "talk." 

Less than 3 weeks until he is 1...WOW! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Big Bug, LIttle Bug

Noah's Book Club: September 2012

Title: Big Bug, Little Bug
The last page will blow your mind!

Author: Paul Stickland

Why Noah Picked It: This book is BIG, COLORFUL, and the last page is a huge pop-up! Each page only has a few words on it so it doesn't go on and gets to the good part...the pop-up! The pages aren't board book but they are thicker so I can turn them without to much worry about ripping them.  This is my favorite book right now and I get excited whenever I see it. I really would like someone to read it to me several times a day. Mom has taken to hiding it in high up places but sometime I spot it! I know I am not supposed to touch the pop-up but I really, really, REALLY want to.  

Friday, August 31, 2012

Simply September

Goal this month:

My life. This home. Our schedule. (as much as possible and is within my control)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why we named you Noah Roger

Dear Noah,

At some point in your life you may wonder why we named you Noah Roger. This is not a name we came upon lightly. We really worked at picking your name. We took our time and we struggled with it. We wanted your name to mean something and to remind you throughout your life of where you came from and our hopes for you.
Let us start with "Noah." Noah was not my original choice. In the summer of 2011 as your father and I sat on the beach in Ship Bottom, NJ we talked about names. The beach was crowded and noisy so we would even practice calling out a name as if our child was playing in the waves. We took the names we were thinking of and put them into sentences that we imagined one day would be said.
Things like:
"Who got the lead in the school musical this year?" "Benjamin Meredith, again!"
"William Meredith you go to your room this minute!"
"Mom, I met a boy at school who I really like his name is Ben."
This went on for several days and many of our favorites was "Noah." It wasn't my favorite but I liked it and it was on the "short list" of names we were considering.
One night mid-August I was resting in bed when your Dad came in and said "I really like "Noah". I think it has good meaning. Noah followed God at a time when every one around him wouldn't listen. I think that would be a good namesake for our son."
I agreed. It seems that you will grow up in a generation where most of your peers don't know God. Don't go to church, don't read the Bible, aren't taught to pray or seek God's will for how they should live. Our wish for you is that you would be different. That you would know God and his principles and his love for you. That you would neccessarily be different and live differently because of your faith in God.
I knew that night that "Noah" was now your Dad's favorite name. It still wasn't mine but I liked your Dad's reasoning and decided to let the name sit for a while.
Little did I know that it wouldn't sit long.
Our world was about to change.
On Sunday August 28th our little valley was hit with a big flood. A flood that would change the coarse of the rest of my pregnancy, the first year of your little life, and the hearts of your closest family members. I watched your Dad, your Uncles and Aunts become heroes in that flood. I watched your father take on a role of leader for his family until his parents (your grandparents) could return to Schoharie. I watched three of your grandparents struggle, cope, and overcome. We all learned about loss and how the loss of things is really just that. There were moments I feared like I had never feared before. Feared even for my life, your life, and the life of those closest to me. In the long days that followed your Dad (often covered from head to toe in flood mud) worked from dawn till dusk. In one of the rare moments we were alone before he walked out the door to continue his labors he looked at me and said "Noah Roger" and I stared at him and nodded a firm yes.
And that (as they say) was that.
I did have moments of worry that people would think it was cheesy that we picked Noah following the flood...I didn't let those worries overtake me. Especially, when your Dad found a passage in scripture that confirmed would be "Noah."

Genesis 5.29
...called his name Noah saying, "out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and form the painful toil of our hands."

And you were a relief and a comfort to many. Even in the midst of flood recovery and rebuilding people saw me round with pregnancy and it gave them hope and relief and a sign of new life. In your infancy you blessed people just by being new and by providing a small break in the hard toil of post-flood Schoharie County. You were our Noah. Our relief. 

"Roger" was never really a negotiation as your middle name. My Pop (my maternal grandfather) was J. Roger Barber and he was one of my favorite men. He is remembered for his commitment. To his family, his farm, his community, and to education specifically. He was hard-working and busy and not perfect but he loved me. And I loved him. very. very. much.
It broke my heart a million ways when he passed away.
He left an impression on this valley, he left roots, he left legacy, he left a strong family with unbreakable bonds. However, you bear his name not because of what he meant to the world but because of what he meant to me. I knew long ago if I ever had a son he would have the middle name "Roger." You entered this county (our special corner of the world) exactly 9 years after he left it. The timing of that did not escape me...even as we drove you home on that sunny crisp autumn day.
I wish you could have known him. I wish he could have seen how blessed I am with you and Daddy. The best I can do is give you his name and raise you in his valley.
The most I can do is tell you of his strengths and let you grow in the shadow of his mountains.
All I can do is water the roots that grow beneath you, through a middle name, and deep into the heart of your Mother.

All my love dear boy,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top 10 for a 10 monthday!

Noah is 10 months old today.

Here are my top 10 things I don't want to forget:

10. Watching him watch Sesame Street for the 1st time. He loves the puppets and always cuddles with me while he watches.
9. The way he mimics us whenever we use our fingers on our lips to make that funny noise or say "ga-ga-ga-gah!"
8. Watching him fall in love with his Dad. Bouncing, leaning to one side and saying "cute", playing "getchyou", bath time.
7. He is starting to really recognize a few people besides us. His Grandmas and Luke and Megan for sure.
6. The constant movement of this month. Perfecting the ability to crawl and pull himself up and cruise...he hasn't stopped moving. Even crawled up onto the coffee table today. Happy 10 months!
5. The look on his face when he saw all the lawn sale bargains I had brought home. The way he examined the bedroom after we rearranged it.
4. Hearing him reach up to the big piano and play a few notes.
3. The way he smells after a bath.
2. Watching him learn to pick up food and bite and chew it. Feeding him that Barber's potato.
1. How much he needs me...and always wants to be where I am and in my arms.

PS-  I also don't want to forget how much he likes mirrors and how when he gets excited he breaths in and out really loudly and kicks both his legs. (Ok, really done now!)

Pat the Bunny

Noah's Book Club: August 2012

Title: Pat the Bunny
Oh Paul and Judy...

Author: Dorothy Kunhardt

Why Noah Picked It: At first, I saw a lot of pink on this book and thought..."oh, it is for girls" but after a few readings I ignored the pink and started to really watch this "Paul" and "Judy." Each page has something for me to do...pat the bunny, look in the mirror, play peek-a-boo. After about a month of seeing it almost every night I decided to give it all a try. Now I do each of the pages and I really get excited when I see the book. Mom thinks this book is one of the reasons I started to wave. I should add that I still don't "smell the flowers"...I just don't get that action yet...give me time people-I am only 10 months old! It is a simple book but the interactive aspect (Mom's words not mine) is a lot of fun!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summer Summary

I often look back on summers and think: What did I do? Where did the time go?
So, I am keeping a "Summer Summary" this year. At the end of each week I will pick one or two words or a phrase that sums up the week. 

Week One: Wedding and Family
Week Two: Sickness and Opera
Week Three: Training and Visits
Week Four: Costumes and Saratoga
Week Five: Vacation Bible School and Aladdin Jr.
Week Six: Cleaning and Organizing and Middleburgh's 300th Anniversary
Week Seven: Cleaning and Organizing and Kiss Me Kate plus JJ's 29th Birthday!
Week Eight: LBI, NJ with Mom and Lawn Sale Day
Week Nine: Preparing- for school, for visits, for fall
Week Ten: Mississippi Merediths, LBI, one year anniversary of Irene

And that's it...that was summer. On to autumn and all it brings...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Clean Sweep!

So, now that the musical I was doing costumes for is over I have a pretty ambitious to-do list for the next 10 days:

1. Clean this apartment - and I mean DEEP clean it. Scrub things, move furniture, wash curtains. Like...Spring cleaning only in August 'cuz I didn't do it in the Spring. Also...sorting, organizing, and PURGING all of our STUFF! Town wide garage sale - here we come!

2. Help clean out my husband's childhood bedroom.

3. Reorganize the community theater's costume closet so we can fit everything back in neatly at the end of the season. Oh, and wash and put away all the costumes I used.

10 days??? Ha...I know I am crazy. I know it won't all get done. Especially now that I am at the end of day two of trying my best at  #1 and I have a CORNER of my kitchen done. Yes, one corner. 
 (I still have real-life-normal-everyday-stuff to do, grocery shopping, watching kids, and so on...)
I am keep my goal of August 10th though...I need to keep motivated and that is my husband's birthday. I have to do all of this NOW while he is on summer break and isn't working his normal hours. When September comes it will be so nice to have this place under control and no big projects looming over me. :) Some girls dream of diamonds...I dream of knowing where everything is in my house and having most of it labeled. Sigh.

Here's what is slowing me down...this place NEEDS the cleaning and I am also simplifying as I go. Goodbye decorative coffee mug and vase...I need to put baby bottles there.
Goodbye clutter from a space that could be used to get more stuff off my counters!
Into the trash all food that I don't want to eat (junk) but have felt guilty for getting rid of up 'till now!
Move this here, try this there, wash, dust, get rid of it!
(Shhh...this is really fun for me. I think that makes me a huge nerd.)

Tomorrow we start to tackle #2. Husband's childhood bedroom...time to box it up, display it, sell it, or trash it, Honey!

(I am posting this mostly to hold myself accountable. On August 10th, I'll post an update of how I did!)

UPDATE! Ha. ha. ha. We did finish JJ's bedroom by the 10th and we gave a ton of stuff to a local church to sell in their lawn sale. I finished the costume closet on the 12th...the day the last show wrapped. A little touch up when all the show laundry is returned and it will be closed up till spring. As far as our apartment...I cleaned the kitchen. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Because He first loved us.

It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about.  What’s hard is figuring out what you are willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” Shauna Niequist

I knew becoming a mother would be a change. A big change. I knew I wanted to prioritize. Make time for this new little person entering our world. I knew I would be his sole source of food for 6 months and his main source for another 6 after that. I knew babies took time. I knew they took your sleep. I knew life would be different.

And yet...I had no idea.

Preparing for him, I gave up directing the musical at my school. I made that decision before I even knew we were expecting. We just knew we wanted a child and that removing that stress from my life and our marriage was probably a good first step. It was a fairly easy change especially because I did get pregnant and spent all of musical season on the couch in the throngs of my first trimester.

When we were expecting, we talked a lot about my maternity leave.  We had discussed me staying home with children before we were even engaged so it was no surprise to me when we easily agreed I should take the maximum about of time allowed. It was scary to think about my life without teaching and I even blogged about my last day. Such a huge transition was a big decision but I was happy and content as I knew it was what we wanted for our family.

I have always helped with my husband's musical at his school. This year (with baby on hip) was no exception but we often looked at each other and knew that next year with Noah being then 1 1/2 I wouldn't be able to help. With rehearsals far away and a toddler it seems my role there will be cut down to almost nothing in the future. My husband has enlisted new help to do what I used to. This is a sad reality as I have always loved helping him create his shows. I will have to simply help him by caring for his son, his home, and his belly. 

Before Noah arrived I had agreed to manage the costumes for TMP's (our local community theater) two summer productions. After Noah arrived and I realized how much extra time and energy I didn't have. I backed out and asked if I could possibly only do one of the productions. It amazes me now that I ever thought doing both would be possible. It has been a struggle to manage this household and help Noah through all his changes just working on one show! The no dinner nights, the baby hand offs (my husband music directs the other show right after I finish with costumes), the messy house, the cranky baby, the phone calls of distress, they have all lead me to believe I really should not commit myself to any future productions. Until Noah is...oh, I don't know....6? 10? 25?

The two weeks before my sister's wedding I wanted to dedicate as much time as I could to her and helping at the house. This pretty much destroyed our apartment and I burned the candles at so many ends I ended up sick afterwards. (I wouldn't take this back and it was a short term - once in a lifetime thing - that I do not regret. It still shocked me how run down I became doing what I had done many times pre-baby with no problem.)

So all this leads me to my much do I have to give? How much of my old life gets put away (for now)? How much do I have to stop doing? Can I commit to anything outside of house and home without the whole thing falling apart? Not to sound cliche but sometimes it does feel like I am losing myself. If I don't teach and I don't do musicals and I can't power through a family wedding with gusto then well...who am I?

I am new. I am a new creation. The process is slow and the learning curve is steep but it is happening.
I no longer live for myself. I no longer can give to students, schools, or productions what I once did.
I have a new job life: Mom.
How much do I have to give? I have to give it all.
I have to give when there are no thanks. I have to give when there are no smiles. I have to work for no money and and take no holidays. I have to drastically change my to-do list and let someone else do theater. Love is not about making sure I have plenty of "me time" or seeking approval from the outside world (the world rarely gives approval anyway).
*Love is sacrificial commitment to the good of the other.
And it is a sacrifice but it is required.

We love because He first loved us.
We give all we can because He gave it all.
We die in small ways for others because He paid the ultimate price for us.

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps.  It is not something to do if you can squeeze time in.  It is what God gave you time for.” -Rachel Jankovic

*Definition of love from Timothy Keller's book The Meaning of Marriage

9 upates at 9 months

Our baby boy is 9 months old! Wow! It is true what they goes so fast. Our crazy summer lives have made this post several days late.

1. We are moving! Noah's "crawling" isn't proper crawling at all but the boy is on the move. He army crawls all around our apartment and I am trying to keep up with cleaning and baby proofing his path! He also is really working on pulling himself up to standing....he has done this already but only on rare occasions. Plus he kicks and squirms and dives all about! He is really good at sitting himself up after being on his belly and we have seen some glimpses of "proper" crawling on the way.

2. We are sleeping! We are night weened and sleeping 11 hours each night. Thank the Lord, The Sleepeasy Solution, and my husband for that. Every night is not perfect but we are all getting a lot more sleep.

3. We are eating! Eating a lot of baby food and baby snacks. Noah is nursing and eating more during the day now that he is not eating at all at night. He loves bananas and banana flavored "puffs". We have tried small bites of some "real food" as well. We have a hunch that "nana" may be Noah's "word" for wanting food...we will see in the coming weeks.

4. We are reading, and reading, and reading, and reading. The same books over and over. Our son loves Eric Carle. I didn't know it was possible for a 9 month old to have a favorite author but he does! Noah is great at turning pages and often demands books several times a day and several readings in each sitting. There are worse things.

5.We are clingy. Noah is a bit on the clingy side lately. It may be the night weening and sleep training we did. It may be that I left him for a whole night and most of the next day (He is now very suspicious of both his Grandma's houses) and also have been busy with the summer show which takes me away from him for a few hours a few nights a week.

6. Noah makes all kinds of noises and is getting good at letting us know what he wants. He is also getting good at throwing things he doesn't want and throwing little fits when he doesn't get his way. He has also mastered the art of going after the one item on the floor/table/couch that knows full well he is NOT supposed to have. Such sought after items include: the remote, cell phone, keys, land line phone, anything Mommy is using to eat or drink out of.

7. Besides reading Noah enjoys water (pools and baths), being outside, animals, music (but not musicals), and eating.

8. This month we had a family wedding and Noah met his 3 long distance second cousins who were all born this year as well. He also gained an Uncle. We really enjoyed spending time with Owen, Emmett, and Forrest. He also has been enjoying Daddy time during the day.

9. Apparently, Noah has the biggest head of any baby his age. Ever.

Love our boy SO much! Happy nine months sprout! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Goodnight Moon

Noah's Book Club: July 2012

Title: Goodnight Moon
An old classic.

Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Clement Hurd

Why Noah Picked It: The month of July was a tough one for me. Mom and Dad decided it was time for me to learn to fall asleep on my own. I really don't have a lot of fond memories from that time in my life except that they started to read me this book to me each and every night. I knew the time for sleep had come when they pulled out this book and yes...I cried through it many time because I knew the pack and play was next on their list but now...I love it. It is a comforting and familiar end to each and every day. I like to point at things in "the great green room". Goodnight book club. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: The End.

Wednesday Night: The End.

Tonight marks the third night of Noah going to sleep very quickly on his own. He sleeps 11 hours each night. He is night weaned. I would call the whole thing a success except for naps and the fact that he is rather upset through most of the bedtime routine. So, I will call is a somewhat success and be grateful for the increase in nighttime sleep for everyone in this little family. Since we've seen little change in the past three days I am wrapping up this little blog-a-thon.

What have we been reminded of along this journey?
Parenting is hard. Summer is hot. Change is sometimes necessary yet painful. Not everyone will agree with your decisions. We love our baby very much and he is growing very fast. God is good.  

The End.

(last in a series)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: Joys!

Tuesday Night: Joys!

After the hour long scream-a-thon that was Noah's morning nap I was about ready to throw in the towel.

However, two joys to share that have lifted my spirit a bit:
1. Noah's afternoon nap was a success. He cried but did eventually put himself to sleep and napped in his pack and play for about 45 minutes. That hasn't happened since last Tuesday.
2. Tonight is the second night in a row of Noah falling asleep almost instantly at bedtime.

Those are both very encouraging!

(14th in a series)

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: Going Rogue

Monday: Going Rogue

This morning I had the brainiac idea that Noah would nap if he thought we all were napping.

This simply resulted in JJ and I being trapped in our bed for an hour listening to Noah scream.

(13 in a series)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: Sleep Tight

Monday Night: Sleep Tight 

Last night (#6)- again no night feedings, Noah slept his 11 hours :)
Today (#6)- napped twice in the car and screamed through out attempt at a 3rd nap :(
Tonight (#7)- after a heroic effort by a friend of ours to keep Noah awake until bed time, a bath filled with tears, and 4 story books, Noah conked out almost immediately :/

Feeling good about the night time sleep. Feeling bad that Noah screams through the bedtime routine because he doesn't want to go to sleep. Feeling terrible and dreading every single nap (unless we are in the car).

Happy One Week!

(#12 of a series)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: Seriously?

Sunday: Seriously?

I was not prepared for this to be such a roller coaster. One night bedtime will go awesome...the next it will go terribly. Last night (night 5) was rough. Noah was up on and off a lot. However, he always got himself back to sleep and I didn't nurse him at all. He woke up around 7:30 am ready to eat!

Today is Sunday so naps went well because we were in the car a lot. He napped on the way to church, on the way to the store, and on the way home. No screaming naps in his pack and play. It was nice.

So far night 6 is not going well. He screamed through his bath and got very upset when we finished the last book. It has been about a half hour and he is still awake in the bedroom. I am starting to get worn out and I am tired of hearing my baby cry. The fact that Noah is night weaned is incredible, the fact that once he falls asleep he sleeps for long stretches is tremendous, but I thought the first night would be the worst and every night after that would get a little better. This has not been the case for us.

I start to wonder if we are doing something wrong. We are trying so very hard to be consistent. I was going to have one of our Moms watch him tomorrow night and do bedtime. Not happening after tonight...I can't ask anyone else to do this right now. It is bad enough we are teaching him that he has to fall asleep alone...I can't ask him to do that knowing we aren't near by.

My brain is a tug-of-war about what is best for Noah. 
Seriously? Being a parent is tough stuff. 

(11th in a series)

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: Night 5

 Saturday: Night 5

Sooooo...night 5 is not going so well. Isn't it supposed to get better each night?
Noah has been up on and off since 8:00. He hasn't really been crying just making enough noise to let us know he is awake...we are not supposed to go check in on him if he is doing this whining kind of behavior. It makes us both so sad tonight. After visiting with babies all day we just want to go and hold and cuddle our little boy!

(10th in a series)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: The Nightmare on Nap Street

Saturday: The Nightmare on Nap Street

Day 4 brings more attempts at Noah going to sleep independently for naps. Currently he is trying his 8th nap with the new routine. I say "trying" because he is crying and part of my Mommy gut says he is going to cry his way right through this nap hour....just like the first 7.

We have until Tuesday to see improvement...there are a lot of naps between now and then (Oh Lord, maybe as many as 11). We are trying different nap times to try and find the right fit for him. We have tried everything from 2 hours after he wake up to 3 1/2 hours after he wakes. We wait for "sleep cues" and continue to try and put him down when he seems to need to nap (This deviates slightly from The Sleepeasy Solution). It is crazy how well he is doing at night compared to how awful he is doing with naps. I really don't understand it.

On the upside! Night 4 (last night) went well...Noah fell right to sleep and had a few minor little wake ups throughout the night. We didn't hear him at all between 1:00 am and 7:30 am. This is so.much.better than a week ago when I would be up with him 4 or 5 times and sometimes for as long as an hour during those hours.

(9th in a series)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: TGIF

Friday: TGIF

1. Last night (#3) went well. He slept about 12 hours with 2 minor and one longer (25/30 minutes) "wakings".

2. Naps are still not going well. Nap #1 hour in the sleep. Nap #2...same story. To allow him to nap I loaded him in the car and drove to the farm/my Mom's. He slept for a good hour and 15 minutes at least. I am a little concerned that I am just replacing one habit with another...but the kid has to sleep!

3. I am slightly concerned that Noah is cutting a tooth. Teething while trying to sleep train is not ideal to put it mildly.

4. We are thankful for Friday and not having to be anywhere today. My husband will be home all day and night to help with all the naps and bedtime. Hooray!

5. Just put Noah down for bed (night #4)...the room was silent within moments of us leaving the room. Wow. We'll how the night waking goes tonight...we are almost done with the weaning process (tonight is the last night).

6. I still have my doubts about the nap section of this Noah has screamed his way through 7 naps (7 hours) in the last 3 days. I have to call the night time progress an almost complete success. Noah can definitely tell when we have started the pre-bed routine and he does NOT like it. He cried through his bath and changing/song time. He whimpered through his stories and barely nursed before he went down. However, he fell asleep almost instantly.

On to the weekend...on the other side of it is the one week mark of this process and (I hope) promised improvement.

(#8 in a series)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: By George!

Thursday Night: By George!

There is a scene in the musical My Fair Lady in which the three main characters are all exhausted and Henry Higgins asks Eliza Doolittle to say it again...and she repeats the phrase clearly.
"The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain."
 A moment of shock and disbelief....and then they brust into jubilant song and dance.

"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain! 
   I think she's got it! I think she's got it!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain! 
   By George, she's got it! By George, she's got it!
Now, once again where does it rain? 
On the plain! On the plain! 
And where's that soggy plain? 
In Spain! In Spain!" 

This is what happened in our living room tonight when I realized in less than 10 minutes Noah was sound asleep. The dance and everything (I played all three of the parts).

Two side notes in the midst of my celebration: Our baby is too smart. He now has the bedtime and nap routines memorized and starts to get upset as soon as he realizes it has begun. I managed to trick him into enjoying some of it tonight until I picked up the 3rd (and last) book to read. Hopefully he will settle into enjoying the routine at some point. 
Our baby is quite determined. I pray God will tame and use that spirit for His good.

(7th in a series)

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent: We All Fall Down

 Thursday: We All Fall Down

This family is tired.
It is an odd thing that the very reason we decided on sleep training was because of an exhaustion that was slowly creeping into every moment of every day. Odd my husband and I are both beyond exhausted. I literally could not keep my eyes open for a portion of the morning. Thank you God for coffee.
I am honestly getting more sleep (in one stretch) than I have in a long time but my body basically shut down on me today.

Last night (night 2) ended up going well overall: once Noah fell asleep he stayed asleep until 6:30 am with only ONE night waking all night long. That is a huge improvement.

Today (day 2) has been a struggle. They warn us in The Sleepeasy Solution that naps will be the hardest and Noah is proving them correct. We put him down for two naps today and after an hour of protest for each - it was 1:00 in the afternoon and he was exhausted and hadn't slept a wink since that morning. The system warns not to let your baby fall asleep in your arms or nursing during this process but with a firm resolve that my baby needed to sleep I go to plan B. So, I put Noah in the car and then in the stroller and he napped there for about 1/2 an hour...better than nothing. This got him to sleep but didn't "send mixed messages" that sometimes I will hold him or nurse him to sleep and sometimes I won't. I may use this again in the coming days. We tried a third time in the later afternoon - one hour of whining - little cries and squawks - and quite a bit of talking to himself - no sleeping. Another little cat nap with Grandma Betsy in the yeah, naps are NOT going well.

My husband through all of this is a rock. He hasn't wavered on carrying through even when I want to quit. If the old way of doing things was bad for me it was terrible for was to the point where Noah really wouldn't sleep unless I was with him. One of the goals of this process is that Daddy will be able to put his son down for a nap or for the night. A worthy goal, I think.

So, we carrying on...with a commitment to each other for one solid week of this system. So in to night 3 I venture...

(6th in a series)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent- Can We Have A Do-Over?

Wednesday Night- Can We Have A Do-Over?

Oops...miscommunication and a summer schedule not conducive to sleep training leads to the baby being put down to sleep at 7:00 without his real bedtime routine and without a good plan as what to do next.
5, 10, 15 min. check ins.....crying, crying, more crying.
Now here's the thing...The Sleepeasy Solution says that if the baby is " calming, crying intermittently, or whining" to stop the check-ins and only start them again if he starts to cry hard.
So, that is where you currently find me Reader...listening to my son cry on and off...not sure whether I should do a check-in and cause perhaps harder crying...or if this is "intermittent" at all? It's been going on for 40 min. Instead of cleaning (my escape last night) I am writing.

And I hate it.
So far I have not seen the lovely pay off of any of this. My baby was upset most of the day and we parents are trying to do-it-all-right but feel like we are doing-it-all-wrong. Right at this moment I have no idea what to do. I know if I go in and pick him up I will lose all the "hard work" we have already done and yet that
I want my son to trust me, to know I am always there, to not be sad or frustrated or crying for...well over an hour now. Right now it feels like all he is learning is that when I walk out of the room I won't come back. that he is alone. worse. that he is on his own.

How long do I let this go on? And as I type that silence. Thank you, God.

Well over an hour and not at the correct bedtime but our Love is asleep.
Now, in all this I have the added joy of waking up Noah when he IS asleep to nurse him. This will decrease on a weaning schedule (set out by The Sleepeasy Solution) over the next few days.  Several times a night I have to actually wake the poor boy up after he has worked so hard to fall asleep to nurse him for a few moments. I just did this...and as I laid him back in his pack and play his eyes popped open and he began to protest. His little hand grabbed mine. His grip tightened.

And I pulled away.

Why on Earth am I doing this?

 Maybe I'll remember in the morning.

(5th in a series)

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent- Naps Gone Wild

Wednesday- Naps Gone Wild

First nap- cried for an sleep (The Protestor)
Second nap- cried for 30 min. slept for 30 min. (The Procrastinator)
Third nap- fell asleep in car slept 45 min.

"The Protestor" and "the Procrastinator" are terms used in The Sleepeasy Solution to describe how some kids behave at nap time. Kind of gave me confidence that they knew what the heck they were talking about.

But naps did NOT go well...frustration was mounting all day.

(4th in a series)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent- A Hopeful Beginning

Tuesday Night- A Hopeful Beginning

We had our plan. The bedtime routine that I had been doing for several days was ready. Nighttime weaning schedule - check. My husband and I went over the rules of the night. It began.

Bath, changing, songs, books, white noise, nursing, elephant, pacifier, Mr. Bear music box, "I love you baby boy" with a few kisses and into the dreaded pack and play he went.

He was screaming before I left the room...before he was in the pack and play really. I left.
His little face as I set him down broke my heart but I was resolute. We all need this.
5 min later I "check-in" and said all the supportive positive things I could in the allowed 30 seconds. My baby boy was up against the corner of the pack and play (closest to the door) having an all out fit. Honestly, it helped that he was using his tantrum cry...not his sad, hurt, or hungry cry. Something in my Mommy ears heard that tantrum cry and knew this was an OK lesson for him. I left and checked again at 10, 15, 15...then at 52 min. silence. 

I felt a little victorious I'm not going to lie.
And- the kitchen got cleaned...oh, I cleaned the heck out of it.

Besides his scheduled night feedings he only woke once at 12:30 for about 25 min. According to The Sleepeasy Solution Noah was to stay in his crib until 7:30 am. He woke at 6:30 am and cried for an hour. We did the little verbal check-ins but this was...without a doubt...the WORST part. There I lay...2 feet from him (if that) and I couldn't reach out and pull him into our bed and snuggle him back to sleep as I had been doing for months. I lay there and he cried and the whole thing felt very unnatural but I wanted to play by the rules (for now).

When the clock hit 7:30 we threw on the lights and showered Noah with love, praise, and cuddles.
I am sure it was (mostly) in my head but it didn't seem like he looked at me quite the same way through breakfast. We were happy with how night 1 went...and hopeful about the rest of the week.

(3rd in a series)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent- The End of an Era

Monday Night- The End of an Era

Monday night I put Noah to bed as I had for months...with nursing and staying near to him until he drifted off. He woke up 5 times throughout the night each time needing to be nursed and held back to sleep. There was a "nice" stretch from 3:00 am to 4:00 am where Noah laid on each and every part of my body trying to get comfortable. By morning I had one stretch of 3 hours of sleep and the rest of the night had been in dribs and drabs. The night was very typical and yet very special. I was keeping track of Noah's wakings and feedings so I could begin night weaning and so we would have a starting point for our program the next night. It was a hard night because I knew that we had decided that this would (hopefully) be the end of this behavior. I had posted on facebook about our plans to sleep train and received gabs of supportive remarks. I appreciated each one but also knew many of my fb friends did not support sleep training but were respectfully remaining silent on my wall. I felt pangs of guilt for abandoning a philosophy I had clung to and shared with others for many months. In some ways putting it on facebook made it official and now I couldn't back down...maybe that's why I posted it in the first place.

Goodnight sleeping with Noah tucked between us. Goodnight little hands stroking my arm as sleep took over. Goodnight rocking, and rocking, and rocking. Goodnight laying with Noah until the pacifier fell out and his eyes slowly closed. Goodnight, my newborn. I loved every moment of it. 

(2nd in a series)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Diary of a Sleep Training Parent - Why write it?

Why I am blogging this experience...
I wasn't going to sleep train. No, seriously, I had read all the books...searched on-line...talked to other parents. I had heard all the theories and ways of doing it. It wasn't for me. It wasn't for us. At least, not for the first 8 months.

Hard Thing About Being A Parent #26- Admitting when what you are doing is not working and trying something else. 

It wasn't working. The philosophy I loved of giving Noah a positive sleep experience where he would enter sleep with no tears was failing me. My husband and I would do and had done anything Noah needed to help him sleep.
White noise, bouncing, swinging, walking, singing, shushing, swaddling, nursing, rocking, laying with him, even having him sleep in our bed with us. Waking up. and waking up again. again.
For many months it was a good routine and it was something we believed in and felt good about. However, for the last six weeks, the months on end of getting hardly 3 hours of sleep at one time was beginning to wear on all of us.
The sleep exhaustion was...well...exhausting. I mean that in every sense of the word. We had no energy. We had no reserves. Noah even seemed crankier and crankier as the weeks wore on of being up sometimes every 45 minutes throughout the night. The lack of sleep was affecting our home, our health, and our marriage. We had to admit that this wasn't working but I could not be convinced to do anything else we had read or heard about. An appointment with our pediatrician and a coinciding conversation on facebook lead us to The Sleepeasy Solution. This is a variation on Ferber's methods of basically "crying it out" with timed check-ins by the parents.

We read and watched a DVD. I was ready to try it. Not without tears of my own. Even thinking about making such a drastic change was upsetting to me. I felt like a failure and a small part of me still hung on to wanting to help Noah get through his nights even if it meant an extreme schedule of small amounts of sleep with no end in sight. I cried thinking about Noah not laying next to me in the bed or stroking my arm as he fell asleep. This was a hard decision for me. I didn't want to sleep train Noah and I could certainly find evidence to support my feelings BUT our life was being undone at the seams by the fatigue that started to define every moment of our days.

Learning The Sleepeasy Solution I began to feel like I could do this. How can so many people be wrong? We might as well try it. Give it a go. We watched and read and planned. and prayed.

I am writing these blogs as a diary. As a record. It will be honest. I hope you, Reader, will give me the grace to go through this journey with all the ups and downs I may express here. If we fail then maybe others can learn from our mistakes. If we succeed maybe it can encourage others. Maybe no one will ever read it and it is really just for process and work through (as only writing can help one do). Either way it is a record of this Mama leaving one decision and trying to embrace another way of doing things. Because her husband needs her to. Because her home needs her to. Because she needs to know it is OK to let go of what you thought would work or of what was once working and give something else a fair and fighting chance.

(1st in a series) 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

8 months old...

With 6 minutes left in the day...I finally sit to type about our little man.

At 8 months old Noah loves:
- all baby food (Grandpa P and a few Uncles even took a shot at it this month)
- pools! (just have to keep him from drinking the water)
- books (and he will cry when you stop reading if he wants you to read it again)
- live animals (dogs, cats, and he visited his great Uncle's chickens and rooster)
- being in new places/observing new things
- walks with Daddy (facing out in the baby carrier)

- he squirms to get down on the ground and loves to face out when being held
- clicking his tongue (new sound!)
- he now gives little "high fives" if we encourage him with the sound "BAM"
- Noah is GREAT at sitting up!
- this month saw the first times Noah reached for me, refused to let a stranger hold him, and the beginning of a little separation crying
- Noah spent his first full day without Mommy...with Grandma went pretty well!

We are working on:
- waving
- not biting
- not pinching Mamas arm while eating
- crawling...lots of effort towards this....he is close and can "get around" but no true crawling yet...often ends up going backwards
- giving kisses
- sleeping

New friends:
-Jonah Clermont entered our lives and Noah got a real kick out of their first meeting. He smiled and laughed and we believe it will be a great friendship.

-Our Scottish cousin Owen and Noah met on the eve of Noah's 8 monthday. They reached for each other, stared a bit, and then went swimming together. Owen and his Mommy are here for 5 weeks...some real good bonding time.

Peek A Boo Forest

Noah's Book Club: June 2012

Title: Peek-a-Boo Forest
I love lift-the-flap books and Mommy loves things I can't rip!

Author: Joe Grasso 
Made by: Lamaze

Why Noah Picked It: I really like lift-the-flap books but Mom won't let me look at them independently because some times...I rip the flaps right off! She hides all the lift-the-flap books up high for when an adult can read to me....except this one! This book is made of cloth so I can play with it on my own! The book has some kind of something inside that makes the flaps crinkle when I touch them and the owl friend on the cover comes up off the page. As the title says it is filled with forest animals which I like because being a baby boy I have had my fill of monkeys and farmyard animals...come on baby marketing departments....get creative! I love peek-a-boo, I love lift-the-flaps, and I love a book I can throw around! Mom would like to add that this book is a huge seller on I am not the only one who enjoys the flap lifting genre! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Love You Through and Through

Noah's Book Club: May 2012

Title: I Love You Through and Through
A new classic.

Author: Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak
Illustrator: Caroline Jayne Church

Why Noah Picked It: My Mom read this a lot to me when I was younger. I really took an interest in it because of the little boy. I like how he shows the different emotions and parts of the body. I like how his bear helps him to show each action. The illustrations are simple and great for babies. If you are a girl baby they have a book that features one of your kind called "How Do I Love You?" but I think this book is good for all babies! 

Noah's Favorite Things: 7 months

(I stumbled upon a blog where a Mom listed her baby's favorite things each month. Clever! Instead of simply wishing I had thought of it myself...I will start now. Now is better than never.)

Noah's favorite things @ 7 months:
1.) wooden blocks (stacked into a tower by Mommy to push over or to use as a teether)
2.) Sophie the giraffe (a teether)
3.) Dino Popper with all the balls removed (becomes a teether)
4.) any form of peek-a-boo/where's Noah?/being surprised
5.) tags (on toys, pillows, clothing...anything really) and buttons
6.) drinking water from a glass
7.) walks with Mommy and Daddy especially if carried by Daddy
8.) Elephant (sleeping buddy)
9.) when Mommy lays down for naps with him
10.) "Baby Beluga" song/board book

Some of Noah's least favorite things:
1.) top two front teeth coming in
2.) any form of baby food in any flavor
3.) bottles (this is new)
4.) not being able to go where he wants
5.) being left alone
6.) teething tablets/baby Tylenol
7.)  being swaddled (JJ can still get him to accept at bedtime but other wise - no go)
8.) diaper changes- twists/turns/flips/screams
9.) car rides at night
10.) when Mommy takes rubber ducky away

Things we are looking forward to in month 7:
-first trip to the beach
-visit with Great-Grands
-Father's Day
-meeting future baby best friend
-learning to crawl or scoot?

Monday, May 7, 2012

6 months old tomorrow (posted a bit late)

(written on April 20th)

Noah is 6 months old tomorrow.

What???? How did that happen? It is true what they goes fast. Let me be clear - There are hours and days that seem to drag on for eternity but when you are looking back at 6 feels so unreal. I am sure this is compounded by the fact that I have spent a lot of the last 6 months in a sleep deprived state.  Noah has two teeth, rolls over from his back to his tummy, is 20 pounds, can sit (briefly), smiles, laughs, makes raspberries, shakes his head from side to side, and is getting good at letting us know how he is feeling about things. He drools like it is his job. He loves his Daddy. He bangs on pianos. He screams when I leave the room. He opens his mouth for spoons full of rice cereal but then doesn't know what to do with what is on the spoon. We'll work on that.
He loves music. He loves baby Mozart, Mama's singing (God love him), and Johnny Cash.

We love him so very much. 

20 things I assume Noah will love:

1. Music (in general)
2. Piano (specifically)
3. Star Wars
4. The Lord of the Rings
5. Legos
6. Camping
7. Dr. Seuss
8. Sleeping
9. Cuddling
10. Dogs
11. Farms
12. Organizing (solely based on a rigorous training program that has already begun)
13. Being read to
14. Super Heroes
15. Going to Church with his family
16. Large family gatherings
17. The water (pools, beaches, lakes, bath tubs)
18. Playing games (I will push for the board variety while I am sure electronic will also creep in there)
19. Technology (solely based on Meredith genetics)
20. Any and all time spent with Daddy

A few disclaimers- I limited the list to things/activities. I totally realize he may not actually love all of these things. I will continue to assume he loves them until we can sit down and have a rational discussion about the pros and cons of an item and why he has decided not to love it. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dr. Seuss's ABC

Noah's Book Club: April 2012

Title: Dr. Seuss's ABC
Hooray for Dr. Seuss's first appearance on the book list!

Why Noah Picked It: Well, in April my Mom hurt herself and my great-Aunt Leslie came over to help take care of me. That is the first time I remember this book because she read it so FAST...she had it memorized. I really liked the way all the words sounded and the pictures have bright contrasting pictures. Mom says not all Dr. Seuss books are right for kids as young as me but this one holds my attention if the reader is fast and I can help flip the pages. I like to crinkle them up when no one is watching...Mom recommends the board book version if possible. Now Mom and Dad have it memorized...they recite it to me sometimes to get my attention or change my mood. "Aunt Annie's Alligator...A...A...A!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Very Busy Spider

Noah's Book Club: March 2012

Title: The Very Busy Spider
Love me some animal noises...

Author: Who else????

Why Noah Picked It: This is my last Eric Carle book....for now. I love the large pictures of each animal the spider comes in contact with. I really like hearing the adult reading to me make each of the animal's noises. My Mom's horse neigh is hilarious! I also like the owl page. 

5 months old and other numbers

Just a quick post to mark Noah turning 5 months old today.
5 months old!
Going to focus on some numbers. It seems as soon as you are pregnant people want to know a lot of numbers. Due date? How many weeks? How old? How big? How tall? How many? What size?

Noah was 9.5 lbs. when he was born...he is now 18.10 lbs.
He has also added 6 inches to his length.
At his last appointment he was in the 95% of weight and off the chart for his height. 
According to Daddy's baby book JJ was this same weight and an inch longer at 5 months.
Teeth Noah has: 0 Teeth Mommy had at his age: 2
Snuggle time with Daddy.
I don't believe in lucky numbers but I may believe in significant numbers.
If Noah has one it is the number 9.
Noah is the 9th great-grandchild on my Mother's side.
Noah was born at 9:11 in the morning and weighed 9 lbs and 5 oz.
Noah was born 9 years (almost to the day) after my Pop passed away - J. Roger Barber - the source of his middle name. Noah's first day in Schoharie County was the anniversary of his passing. Love.

Noah is averaging 3 short naps a day with a 12 hour stretch of sleeping at night...within that 12 hours he is up anywhere from 4 to 6 times. At least that is the schedule this week.

We have officially moved into 9 month clothing...some small 12 month things and some big 6 month things still float around in his dresser.
Noah loves his bird.
 So...those are the numbers! Planning posts soon about Noah's name, Noah's baptism, and my disastrous trip to a consignment sale. We will see if any of them happen!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Case of the Missing Pork Loin

A tale of what grocery shopping is like for this new Mom:

Let me start by saying that grocery shopping has changed drastically for me since becoming a Mom. I used to love food shopping. I would literally spend hours in the store. Traveling up and down each aisle, blissfully throwing anything that looked good into my cart, no plan, no list...just enjoying the items piling up. I would shop whenever it seemed like I should...if I ran out of food I'd just order out. Grocery trips were a nice break from the routine. I loved it. Sounds dreamy right? It was. I was a single twenty-something with the time and money to treat grocery shopping like a trip to the mall.

Fast forward to today- add a four month old and a one income household and BAM! Grocery shopping has completely changed. It is now a hill to climb, a mission to accomplish, I count it as exercise it is so exhausting. That's read that correctly...on the days I grocery shop I consider my cardio workout complete. Between the bending, lifting, carrying, and power walking I would say I am somewhat justified. (somewhat)

I am now a coupon-holding, list-toting, store-brand-shopping, budget-watching machine. I try to shop on the same day each week, I always have planed out our dinners before hand, and I must have a list. If it's not on the list- it is not coming home. I shop to feed this little family and save money and if I can get out of the store without Noah screaming his head off. I've won.

Today I loaded our little bundle of joy into the car. List - check, coupons - check, diaper bag - check, reusable shopping bags - check. Drive to the store and I am faced with the first colossal challenge of shopping with an infant...getting it all into the store. I park nearest the cart took me about 3 months to figure out this is more important than being close to the door of the store. The best spot for this mommy is if I can get right next to the cart return. I get out, grab a cart, put Noah (in his infant carrier) down into the main basket of the cart.

Side note: No, I do not use those carts with the seats attached for infants. No, I do not perch him precariously across the top of the cart or try to hook his seat to the smaller pull out basket. I put him down inside. This cuts down on two things. One, my own fear that putting him across the top of the cart or in the little basket thingy is not secure and that as I am trying to round some corner he will fall off. This may be completely irrational but makes me feel better knowing he is down inside. Two, and more importantly, people are less likely to look at/talk to/stop me/touch the baby when he is inside the cart. This only took me one shopping trip to discover. Look, ladies, I know you love babies but seriously I have about 45 minutes of good sitting-in-his seat time before it is possible that he will start screaming his darling little head I have got to book it here!

Ok, so Noah is inside in his seat, now add my reusable shopping bags, and his diaper bag to the cart. Can you picture that? Bingo...very little room for food. But I have gotten good at packing the food around my sweet baby and utilizing that little tray underneath the cart. we go...into the fray with barely any room for food before we've begun. Noah has already spent a good 20 minutes in his car seat due to travel time alone. Mommy...start your engine.

And I'm off...trying to balance moving as quickly as possible with getting the best deals as possible. Comparing prices, checking my coupons, checking the list, dodging people who want to stop and talk about the baby (sorry!), trying not to go down unnecessary aisles. I stack cans and boxes around the outskirts of the cart and place any and everything it can handle on the rack underneath.
Exhibit A 
Now, today, we needed a light bulb. We also happened to be shopping at my least favorite place in the whole entire world to shop...I won't name names. Let's just call it, Ballmart. Ok, so we are at Ballmart due to their incredible low yogurt prices (I told you- budget is king). I am forced to go there once a month and buy enough yogurt to last for weeks. This is solely so that I do not have to shop there again for as long as possible.

Anyway, I am searching through the aisle right next to the grocery section- paper products, cleaning supplies, home office stuff- no light bulbs - finally, I ask a nice Ballmart employee who informs me that light bulbs are in hardware on the other side of the store.

Side tirade: WHAT?!??! Are you kidding me Ballmart? Since when did light bulbs become something banished to the other side of the store. Aren't light bulbs the kinds of things people are always buying and go right along with toilet paper and hand soap. Not only were they on the other side of the store they were buried five or six aisles in- behind paint. PAINT! You are telling me that light bulbs have become something we want to make people search for behind things like paint and dehumidifiers! Is this because they have fancy light bulbs now (that last about four years) and so now the little people who still buy normal light bulbs have to fight our way past the Easter section and cosmetics to get this basic need for our home. *deep breath* I look down at my lovely who by this point is starting to make those "mommy-I've had-about-enough-of-this-I-want-out-of-this-seat" noises. I grab the cart and start power walk/running toward the other end of this super store in search of one darn light bulb. About 10 steps into my walk/run I hear " dropped your yogurt." Sure enough, I look back and the precious yogurt that brought us to this horrible place in the first place is on the ground about 10 ten feet behind me....I run back, grab it, throw it back in the cart and dash off again. About 5 steps later...*thunk*...this time oatmeal has fallen off that lower (I told you exercise! I am now breaking a sweat.) I finally get to Siberia (where we keep light bulbs now) and head back to find a (please God) short line as now the baby child IS making very upset sounds...not crying yet. *Old lady incoming on the left hand side*...ack...after a lovely exchange of "yes, thank you, he is so cute"...and "oh, yes, he does sound like he wants to talk"...we are in the checkout line.

Now, this is like my finish line...I feel like pouring a cup of water over my head, like someone should wrap a flag around me, I have a "where's my Gatorade?" kind of feeling. The baby is not crying yet, the list is done, and I think it is all going to come in on budget. Why do the checkout clerks not get this? Instead of being greeted with a "you did it!" or "nice job." I get an unhappy face or someone who is upset I brought my own bags and doesn't want to deal with my coupons or my soon-to-be crying baby.

Anyway, I load the belt. And as I am unpacking my purchases from around Noah I notice something is missing. My peppercorn pork loin. Somewhere between the meat section and light bulbs my Sunday meal went AWOL. For a moment, I think about going back for it. Flashes of, "leave no man behind", type speeches go through my head. Then a *squawk* from the boy and a puzzled and not-to-please look from the lady behind me snaps me out of it. Sorry peppercorn pork loin...I have this needs-a-nap baby and two more errands to run.

On the way home I picture my poor pork loin...did it roll under the bargain bins as I flew across the store? Drop out near the frozen vegetables? Did someone see it and decide to take it home for supper or has it been left to be found by some night cleaner?
This is's not perfect...all my planning and lists and effort to make it as perfect as possible doesn't mean that pork loins won't jump ship.  And that's ok...I'll make mac-n-cheese instead of pork loin. And we'll try again next week.

I have to laugh at how my life has changed. Wonderfully, beautifully changed. Do I miss my leisurely trips to the store and my cart filled to the brim with whatever I wanted? No, not really.

Because my cart is so much fuller now.

Oh, did I say cart? I meant heart. My heart is so much fuller now.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Advice for Moms-to-Be

There is an abundance of advice for moms-to-be out there. I am honestly hesitant to even add to the pile. With that said, here are just a few things that (even if no mom-to-be ever reads) I don't want to forget.

1.) I will start off with an easy one. Sometime before the baby comes I highly recommend going through your closet (yes, the clothes you haven't worn in six months or longer because you are expecting) and taking everything that is dry clean only or hand wash only and hiding it. Say goodbye to these items for now. I didn't do this and as we speak I have a pile of things that need to be hand washed and a pile of things I dropped off at the dry cleaners (expensive!). This was especially a problem with sweaters. This many seem silly but trust me...when Junior gets here you are tired and running out the door and you grab a sweater or pair of pants and BAM. Spit up or some other special gift from your lovely. And the LAST things you want to be doing with an infant to take care of is hand washing laundry or making an expensive trip to the dry cleaners. (Live and learn for me...I hope this post can spare someone else the trouble.)

Related: My husband is not allowed to hold the baby when he comes home from work until he puts on a sweatshirt or something machine washable. This sounds harsh and right now you may be thinking...this girl is crazy is all her advice going to be so neurotic...but trust takes less than a second to ruin a tie, blazer, dress shirt, or sweater. Do this especially if you are the one who does his laundry. Again...NO time for special care clothing!!

2.) Get the purple stuff!! Lansinoh brand lanolin and breast pads that is. This is very important! I saw a huge difference in the first few weeks of nursing when I threw out the hospital brand lanolin and got Lansinoh (the only brand recommended by La Leche League ). Get a tube before you deliver and bring it to the hospital. Their disposable breast pads DO NOT leak. I have put them to the test and spent hours wearing them out in public and they work wonderfully! I wear re-usable ones when I am home and wearing sweats but out in public do not mess around. All it takes is one day when you leak through your clothing and you will see what I am talking about. I live by the purple brand!

3.) Talk, talk, talk. Before you deliver find a few women you love and respect. Find some time and ask them to tell you about their delivery and recovery. There are lots of versions of any birth story from the 30 second to the hour long. I am talking about the latter... the glass-of-wine we're-here-all-night version. Ignore anyone who says stuff like "it will just come'll know what to do" this is true to some extent. However, in our culture most women have never seen a woman in labor let alone a delivery before they go through it themselves. If we lived in another time and another place we may have attended countless births before we ourselves embarked on this experience. Since this is not how our culture works right now TALKING to those women you love and trust is the next best thing. Ask them not to leave anything out. Ask them specific questions. Realizing that all births are different and that your story will be nothing like theirs. Here's the thing, something they say will stick to your bones and help you through. I promise! You (mostly likely) will not be in a room surrounded by the experienced women you love and trust. The next best thing is to have them in your head.

PS- If you feel really was fun to have the husbands at some of these talks. Listening to how two different people saw and remember the same event gives you such a full picture of what it was like.

4.) Read, read, read. Related to #3. I don't suggest reading everything you can get your hands on. I suggest finding one or two books you really love and read them more than once. For us it was Dr. Sears The Birth Book. My husband and I both read it and I read it twice. We also really liked a book we had on the Bradley method. Remember those old commercials about "Knowledge is Power" or "The More That You Know".  Do not avoid learning about birth because "you can't control it anyway" or some such nonsense. Guess what you can control? Fear. Fear will make your pain and experience so. much. worse. You can control your fear and you can control how to react and work with the pain of labor. Ok, soap box away...just do some good reading, ok?

5.) Read this blog post about not putting pressure on yourself to love every moment. I found it very helpful. The truth is there are hard moments, hard days, hard weeks even...and you need to be ok with that. Just love the little moments inside of each day and hold onto those.

6.) Read this blog post which is a letter to moms with only one child.  This article helped me a lot and it should be required reading (in my opinion) for all new moms.

I will say about numbers 5 and 6 that it is funny how blogs, facebook, and the internet in general has been a blessing to me in the last few months. I can find almost any information I need on any question in a matter of moments. I belong to a mom's group on facebook where I can post a question and get a myriad of responses in a matter of minutes from moms I don't even know. Other people's blogs and having my own blog has helped to cheer and counsel me when I have been blue. All this is good and I am thankful for it. However, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Charles Dickens:

"Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true."

I think this is so true.
So, while I appreciate all the technology and all that it allows us to do,
I hope dear-new-mom-reader you have a few people in your life whose faces you can see regularly who with their soul will mean more to you than any blog post, baby product, or published book. 
Because to be a good momma you will need to be brave and you will need to be true. 
And I guess that is my number 7.)

Submitted for your consideration, with love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Noah's Book Club: February 2012

Title: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
An interdisciplinary book (with holes in it!)

Author: Eric Carle

Why Noah Picked It: Mom says Eric Carle uses repetitive language and that is good for building my language skills. I just think it is awesome that there are holes in this book and big colorful pictures. I hear that this book contains life cycles, days of the week, good eating habits, and number knowledge all in one. I really don't care so much about that right now...I enjoy the section where the pages are all different lengths and the last page with "the beautiful butterfly". 

4 months old today!

Today at 9:11 am our little family gathered together and snuggled as we remembered that 4 months ago Noah Roger came onto the scene. He came with great gusto and has brought us much joy each day since then. To be honest the last four months have stretched me...sometimes close to my breaking point but that is when we grow the most.

Mommy and Daddy finally put together my gift from the 5th grade team.

Reading tastes good!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

From Head to Toe

Noah's Book Club: January 2012

Title: From Head to Toe
Mom's bargin hunting pays off.

Author: Eric Carle

Why Noah Picked It: I told you...I love Eric Carle. Mom says I should put in here that this book is not one of his most well known. She got it at our local library's book sale for .50. She almost passed it by because she had never seen it or heard of it before. She was surprised to see how much I LOVED it. It is much larger in size than the other books I have. It also has PAPER PAGES! I love to get my hands on it whenever I can and it has already been taped up...oops. Each page has an animal and a child on it and they are big and bright in Eric Carle fashion. My Mom says all illustrators have a certain style and that Mr. Carle's is perfect for babies. This book talks a lot about parts of the body and some action you can do...kick my legs, thump my chest, wave my arms, clap my hands. So far, I refuse to do any of these actions because it is very fun to watch the adult who is reading to me do them.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thoughts on the eve of Noah being 3 months old...

Noah in early January 
I have decided on the hardest part (for me) of becoming a new mom. It is not: the diapers, the crying, the lack of sleep, the spit up, the increase of laundry, the breastfeeding, or the fact that sometimes I don’t get a shower. Nope. The hardest part is: the voice inside my head. The conversations I have with myself about how I am doing at my new job.

I look at the moms with two, three, five, eight, ten kids. I see that they are wearing make up, I see that they are on time, I see that they have been baking or knitting, or homeschooling, or painting or…or…or…or…

And the voice inside asks: How does she…?

I think about the moms I know who work outside the home. The ones who do another complete job on top of being a mom, the ones who have a schedule they stick to, the ones who managed to get themselves and their children out the door everyday, and manage to keep all those balls up in the air.

And the voice asks again: How does she…?

Then the voice turns inward. It sees that it is noon and I have not put on real clothing. It sees my make-up unused in the not-so-clean bathroom. It sees that I am still carrying baby weight. That I forgot to call that friend, send that mail, order that thing, put away the, finish the, the, the, the….

And the voice asks: Why can’t you…?

The good news is. I know where this voice comes from. The evil place called: compare. I am determined to send it packing! This week God has seen fit to encourage me through of all things…the internet! (note: surfing the internet is easy to do with one hand while feeding a baby)

First of all, I had one of those moments when I was on a blog of someone I barely know because I followed a link from a facebook page from a friend because I saw someone post on their wall and - oh you get the idea - we’ve all been on those “how did I get here” blogs. ANYWAY…this quote was there along the side “Don’t let comparison steal your joy”. Oh heck yes! That is right…one of my main tasks is to be joyful (as in filled with joy) in all circumstances. And I refuse to let the evil of comparing myself to others beat me. I will banish that little voice to the dark corner it came from. It does no good. Not for me…not for Noah…not for JJ…and certainly not for those women I am comparing myself to. Secondly, my sister-in-law posted a link to an article written from a mom of nine to moms with only one baby. It really hit home in some places and made me feel….here it is…NORMAL! (here it is if you want to read it)
I still will strive to get my work done. Have a clean home, a happy baby, be on time, and maybe put on some make up once and a while but my goal is to stop judging myself in the process. 

So, goodbye little voice…you are not invited to the 4th month of Noah’s life. 

PS- When Noah was turning two months old I made a promise for a “2 month” post and it never happened. This being a prime example of one of the lessons I’ve learned in the last 3 months: I am not going to get it all done. I just can’t do all that I once did and I definitely can’t do it as fast. There are nights the dishes sit in the sink. There are times the laundry does not get moved along and my neighbor takes it out and leaves it on top of the machines (like in college). There are dust rabbits…not bunnies. My time is not my own and (I want to make this clear) that is exactly what I signed up for. It is still a hard lesson and adjustment to make. So, there was no 2 month post…and for that I am not sorry…some things have to be laid down…so that I can pick up my 3 month old.